Therese Coffey revealed today how she was forced to wait nine hours at A&E this summer just to be told to go home.
The Health Secretary’s own experience, spoken in the House of Commons, illustrates the scale of the NHS urgent care crisis.
Tens of thousands of Britons face 12-hour casualty waits every month.
Details of her appalling A&E delay, Dr Coffey told MPs she received prompt treatment after going to another nearby hospital the next day.
Her account comes as she unveils her NHS rescue plan, including her main pledge that patients can see a GP within two weeks.
The Health Secretary’s own experience, spoken in the House of Commons, illustrates the scale of the NHS urgent care crisis
NHS data released today shows 1.14 million Britons spent at least half a day trapped in a waiting room or hallway between April 2021 and March 2022.
Committed to a ‘laser-like’ focus on solving problems across the health service, she insists there is ‘so much difference in the access and care people receive across the country ‘.
Labor said the message Dr Coffey sent to patients was effective ‘get your bike up’ and seek treatment elsewhere.
Responding to questions about her emergency blueprints in the Commons, she ruled out rumors that she was considering scrapping A&E’s four-hour waiting time.
According to current guidelines, 95% of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged within 240 minutes.
Emergency unit data shows three in 10 Britons were forced to wait longer than four hours in A&E departments in August, while almost a thousand people a day were forced to wait 12 hours (monthly data). provided by NHS England, different from the NHS Digital dataset)
Ambulance response times recovered slightly in August but the time required for paramedics to arrive on the scene was still well beyond target
But the target has not been achieved since 2015. There have been four Prime Ministers during that time.
Dr Coffey said: ‘I can absolutely say that there will be no change to the target in the four-hour wait at A&E.
‘I believe it’s important and I’ll give you a recent personal experience. Just July, I went to A&E, I waited almost nine hours to see the doctor and I still haven’t received any treatment.
‘I was told to come back the next day, so I went to another hospital just three miles away and I was examined and treated appropriately.
‘That’s the kind of variation we’re seeing on the NHS.’
However, social media users questioned whether she really needed A&E, as she ‘could wait and go home’.
It comes after damning figures last week revealed that more than a million patients had to wait 12 hours in busy A&E units between April 2021 and March 2022.
NHS statistics show fees are three times higher than in the same period last year.
It made last year the busiest year ever in A&E, as casualty units battled Covid as well as the impact of the pandemic and daily pressures.
The NHS says the current crisis is being fueled by so-called ‘bed blockers’, which Dr Coffey has also vowed to curb.
One of her other immediate priorities is access to GPs, which leading experts have suggested adds to the A&E pressure, with patients having to go to emergency units. accidents because they were not examined by a doctor.